what am i doing?

i guess it’s been awhile since i posted. but i’ve been busy.

right after i finished lisa’s ex-quilt wallhanging, my sister susie came to visit for a week, and packed me up to the beach for a funfilled, sunfilled week of sibling dysfunction between the three oldest in our family and all their descendents.

i made a set of wraparound pants for all the girls, and a beach coverup that came to the knee, and we all dyed them at the beach. actually, i dyed them after discussing colors and patterns, and they’ll probably never wear them but i don’t care because i had fun sewing and dyeing them and giving them away. my sister persuaded me to try and copy a t-shirt with a beach scene and turtles, and so we did up a few t-shirts that the guys wouldn’t wear and kept them for ourselves.

that qualifies as fabric work, but is hardly worthy of documenting on my blog. on the other hand, maybe i have a picture somewhere. i took 4 or 6 rolls of film, actual film, and had a great time getting by far better photos than you can get with my digital camera. i’m sticking with film. i just have to get them developed one of these days.

anyway, when i had gotten back and rested up from my vacation, which took about a week, i turned my eye towards the tubs of dye set up on a table in our bedroom, on account of the damned houseguest, who won’t go away.

i was just then undergoing inspirational frenzies. what if i made the nebula design into a wallhanging? i scurried around and examined my stash of silk fabrics. any wide piece of silk that wasn’t completely ripe got cut up and stretched. i only found two, a raw silk noil, and a piece of dupioni. i cut them to 22×60 and thumbtacked them to my 24×64 inch stretchers, and got out the water-based gutta and karo syrup and started putting in stars and nebula cores, going way over the width with detail, and leaving the bottom of the piece for a star field.

several days went by in a blur, as i worked up first one length of material and then the other into big explosivve reds and yellows and blues. the pieces got draped over the bedroom doors so we could admire them while they cured.

somewhere in there i was inspired to do some dyeing and sewing for myself, because i ordered a mens small tank shirt and 2 yards of mercerized cotton fabric. i had the idea to make pants to match this wonderful batik fabric my sister bought me when she was here, that i’d already made into a top.

i’m not sure what i wanted to do with the shirt.

but before i could get to the stuff for me, my uncle died, and i had to go to new orleans for the funeral. i speak of that elsewhere. but that took an entire week to get thru and get over, and i wandered around the house looking at these projects i was in the middle of and wondering where my enthusiasm went. it was like coming home to a stranger’s house.

what did i order a t-shirt for?

as i settle in, i come back to my interests. i steamed the silk nebula wallhangings. i made the pants and twice dyed them, the first time yellow and orange, the second a cover of purple and blue. and tho i tried, there’s no way the pants match the batik top, because i can’t for the life of me become consistent with dyeing.

it might have something to do with the fact that i treat it more like cooking and much less like the science people insist on (always wear a respirator and gloves, measure exactly, blah blah, whereas i tend to knock out a dollop of dye into a glass and spit into it to make a paste, and dump it in the dyebath half dissolved.)

the happy accident. essential to creativity. it’s the opportunity to let a miracle happen.

the shirt’s this really deep blue-purple, with some streaks of green and brown. i love it.

i’m going to be experimenting with different silks in making more nebula wall hangings. i’ll look at lengths, and weights of fabric, and sheen. the raw silk is very matte, and i want more shiny. i wonder if satin would be too tacky, or should i go for habotai? as long as it’s heavy.

and i’ll get cafe rods cut to 2′ and roll them up and put them in a box (like i can find a scroll box on the internet), and i’ll let my new agent bandy them about and see if anybody wants to sell them for me so i can sit here and make more.

several people who have been asked to give me their old clothes so i can make them presents out of them have missed the opportunity to do so, so i’m not going to be doing any more huge big projects for the time being. my kid wants a kimono out of linen, however, and since i’m not buying new linen, i’ll have to go to the flea market for an old tablecloth, maybe one with lots of lace. but in general i only have small projects from now to whenever i decide t make a batch of something for everyone for xmas. they’re probably tired of scarves at this point. any suggestions, family?

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